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How a liberal seminary prof started to see the point of ID

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Robert F. Shedinger, Professor of Religion at Luther College in Decorah, Iowa, and author of The Mystery of Evolutionary Mechanisms outlines why he doubts Darwin as the Sage for the Age:

Because of the common stereotype, I expected ID literature to be filled with tendentious religious arguments and biblical quotations. Instead I was confronted with sophisticated scientific arguments. So I realized right away that what I “knew” about ID was wrong and that the stereotype about it had to exist for a reason. Then, as I began to read the literature of evolutionary biology, I noticed how empirically flimsy many of the arguments are. But more importantly, I noticed the ideological work the concept of natural selection was doing in this literature.

For example, in 1909 August Weismann openly noted how his support for natural selection was based not on evidence, but on the necessity of having a naturalistic explanation for evolution. Later, Ronald Fisher accepted natural selection by default on the grounds that alternative explanations were too close to vitalism. More recently, Douglas Futuyma hailed the importance of natural selection for its role in making biology a naturalistic science on a par with physics and chemistry. These are just a few of the many examples I cite in my book The Mystery of Evolutionary Mechanisms. I came to realize that Darwinism developed in order to function as a scientific grand narrative designed to secure the foundation of biology as a naturalistic science, but in more recent times has grown into a philosophical grand narrative designed to naturalize and normalize a fully materialist worldview.

Robert Shedinger, “Confessions of a Liberal Darwinian Skeptic” at Evolution News and Science Today


Indeed. And that’s why there is so much controversy over teaching Darwinism in tax-supported schools with compulsory attendance.

If all the evolution teacher wanted to say is that life forms change over time and are not now what they were aeons ago, most people wouldn’t care so much—even if they disagree with a given proposition. It’s the “subhuman” lurking in the background…

… come on, we know you’re hiding him in there somewhere… how much did you guys pay for his costume?…

See also: Darwin skeptic Robert Shedinger calls out Paul Davies

and

Shedinger: When Darwinism Becomes Culture, Mental Issues Become Physical

45 Replies to “How a liberal seminary prof started to see the point of ID

  1. 1
    polistra says:

    Yup. Arguments never persuade. What persuades honest people is encountering the REAL info, not the advertised fake image of the info. It’s important to have the REAL info passively available in a wide variety of forms and flavors, without an argumentative front.

    There’s a nice presentation of ID in the Jehovah’s Witnesses website. Good videos, no pressure, very little theology.

    https://www.jw.org/en/bible-teachings/science/

  2. 2
    MatSpirit says:

    That “subhuman” lurking in the background died about 200,000 years ago.

  3. 3
    Ed George says:

    Because of the common stereotype, I expected ID literature to be filled with tendentious religious arguments and biblical quotations.

    Given that ID was created to distance itself from the religious nature of its predecessor, scientific creationism, I would expect its literature to avoid “ tendentious religious arguments and biblical quotations” at all cost.

  4. 4
    kairosfocus says:

    Poli, actually, from Aristotle on, it has been well known that in rhetoric . . . the study and art of persuasive argument and presentation . . . there are three levers of persuasion: pathos, ethos, logos. Roughly, first are emotions, which are no more sound than the accuracy of underlying perceptions, judgements {so, prudence]. Second, is the credibility of an authority or presenter; no more sound than the underlying facts, logic and assumptions. Third, are said facts and logic with underlying assumptions, very much an acquired taste and challenging skill. The least appealing, least moving lever is the only one that has a chance to get at the truth. And, too often our en-darkenment is such that as Jesus of Nazareth once warned, ‘BECAUSE I tell the truth, you are unable to bear it . . . ‘ Telling. KF

  5. 5
    ET says:

    LoL! @ Acartia Eddie:

    Given that ID was created to distance itself from the religious nature of its predecessor, …

    Except for the FACT that ID preceded Biblical scientific Creationism by more than 1000 years,

    Why are ID’s opponents so ignorant of ID?

  6. 6
    Querius says:

    >> Why are ID’s opponents so ignorant of ID?

    Because some people believe that ID is unthinkable, they must construct a straw man to ridicule. However, such fallacious thinking is not exclusive to opponents of ID. Ideological contamination is likely in all of us regardless.

    I believe the highest respect should go to people with an informed view that’s inquisitive, humble, and open to new information and new hypotheses. An informed “We really don’t know” is far more scientific than forcing a flimsy “answer” that fits into a convenient multiple-choice test.

    -Q

  7. 7
    asauber says:

    “Why are ID’s opponents so ignorant of ID?”

    My take on this is that they generally are not ignorant of ID. They oppose it as is correctly identified in the first part of the question and that’s really all there is to know.

    Andrew

  8. 8
    JVL says:

    I don’t think I am ignorant of ID, even though I think it’s case has not been established.

    I will be busy for a few hours but I will try and respond later.

  9. 9
    ET says:

    LoL! When compared to the blind watchmaker, which is accepted by mainstream, ID has more than established its case. But that is moot as anyone who thinks that scientific Creation preceded ID is definitely ignorant of ID.

    And in the end the religious nature of anything is irrelevant to science. Science is OK with an Intelligent Designer for life and the universe. Science is OK with said Designer being the God of the Bible. It is only spastic humans who take issue with it. I say spastic because if they had something scientific to explain what we observe then ID would be moot.

  10. 10
    David P says:

    “… the stereotype about it had to exist for a reason.”
    My favorite part. The reason is so all those materialists don’t ever have examine their beliefs critically. Science is OK with ID, that those materialists aren’t exposes their motives.

  11. 11
    Querius says:

    It just hit me that the name, “blind watchmaker,” assumes the natural equivalent of a purposeful intelligence that puts components together carefully but in a hampered fashion. It also assumes that the biological world is no more complex than a wristwatch. In my opinion, a more descriptive name for this paradigm would be the “insane imbecile.”

    In my opinion, ID is also a paradigm that, when encountering some new structure, compound, or chemical cycle, assumes there’s an intelligent, purposeful reason for it that’s not yet understood.

    It seems that ID is more scientifically productive when comparing the track records of both paradigms. The “insane imbecile” paradigm has provided us with things like undifferentiated protoplasm, vestigial organs (such as ductless glands), and junk DNA.

    While ID may have been incomplete or wrong on occasion regarding purpose, I don’t recall any example of an ID approach being falsified by proving something has no purpose. Can anyone think of such an instance?

    -Q

  12. 12
    Seversky says:

    Why are ID proponents so ignorant of their opponents position?

    We know there is intelligent design in the Universe. We do it.

    If there are intelligent extraterrestrial species then, in all probability, they do it too.

    If there are intelligent extraterrestrial species then they could have visited Earth billions of years ago and seeded it with life. As I have said, I have no problem with that possibility. You must ask others what they believe.

    The problem for ID proponents is would that satisfy them? Or would they face more serious questions, such as, first would such a discovery advance or set back their quest for evidence that their God was responsible for creating this Universe and all life in it and second what would it say about their belief that humanity is the pinnacle of their God’s creation?

  13. 13
    Querius says:

    Glad to hear that you’re an ID proponent, Seversky. Francis Crick also proposed directed panspermia. As a paradigm, I don’t believe that ID has any official position about the source of this intelligence. Of course Biblical Creationists do, but I don’t think ID takes any position with regard to God. My opinion is based on statements reported from the first ID conference.

    So why are many scientists so adamantly opposed to and even contemptuous of ID?

    -Q

  14. 14
    JVL says:

    ET: But that is moot as anyone who thinks that scientific Creation preceded ID is definitely ignorant of ID.

    I guess that depends on when you think ID started. As a major, popular trend I think it really got going in the 90s with publications by Drs Behe and Dempski.

    Science is OK with an Intelligent Designer for life and the universe.

    Well, for life anyway, depending on what we can find out about the designer(s): where did they come from? How did they do it? Etc.

    Science is OK with said Designer being the God of the Bible.

    I don’t think that’s true since you cannot subject God to scientific inquiry.

  15. 15

    Creationist conceptual scheme :
    1. Creator / chooses / spiritual / identity of which is a matter of chosen opinion
    2. Creation / chosen / material / existence of which is a matter of fact forced by evidence

    Besides God, emotions are also in category no 1. That means people make choices out of emotions, and it is a matter of chosen opinion (judgment) what emotions are in someone’s heart.

    Materialist conceptual scheme:
    1. Material / existence of which is a matter fact forced by evidence

    So you can see in comparison that in materialism free will, emotions, God, the concept of subjective opinion, are all thrown out.

    This is why materialism leads to assert that what is good and evil as a matter of (scientific) fact. Because proper opinion is thrown out, now good and evil must be crammed into the fact “category”.

    But actually it is the other way around, in that, because people have a desire to make what is good and evil a factual issue, that they then came up with materialism.

  16. 16
    kairosfocus says:

    Sev,

    I am calling, strawman caricature, belittling rhetorical attack. You full well know or — worse — should know, that from the outset of the modern design theory movement, that it was explicitly and in painstaking detail — right there in TMLO by 1984 — that inference to design on evidence was not addressing the onward question as to a designer being within or beyond the cosmos.

    For years, in exchanges with me and others while you were present or around, that has been pointed out over and over again. In no 6 in our UD weak argument correctives — https://uncommondescent.com/faq/#smascrtn — you can readily read: ” First, a basic fact: while many intelligent design proponents believe in a Creator (which is their world-view right), not all do. Some hold that some immanent principle or law in nature could design the universe. That is: to believe in intelligent design is not necessarily to believe in a transcendent creative being.”

    For cause, that then notes, with explanation: ” anti-ID ideologues use the word “creationist” to distract from a scientific debate that they cannot win on the merits. The only real question is whether someone who uses this dubious strategy is doing so out of ignorance (having been taken in by it, too) or out of malice.”

    Your stunt above fits that, line and length. Stop bowling bouncers to the body-line please.

    This has been there for many years and you are responsible to fairly represent us. This, you have failed to do. Duly noted.

    KF

    PS: Ironically, there is a whole other side to the design inference, cosmology i/l/o strong and manifold signs of a fine tuned cosmos set up to facilitate C-Chem, Aqueous medium, cell based life. Cosmos-building is by definition extra-cosmic and antecedent to specifics of design of life. Where there is indeed a serious onward debate is that life includes rational, responsible, morally governed creatures. That leads to a serious discussion on roots of reality that adequately founds existence of such; requiring the inherently good and utterly wise as source of worlds. That is not science but phil, even when some participants dress up in lab coats. (Note my comment just now, here to MS: https://uncommondescent.com/intelligent-design/robert-j-marks-on-why-there-cannot-be-an-infinite-number-of-universes/#comment-703417 )

  17. 17
    kairosfocus says:

    JVL,

    With all respect, are you that ignorant? You are responsible to be accurate and fair. Modern design theory on the cosmological side traces to the 1950’s, with lifelong agnostic Sir Fred Hoyle as a key figure, who made, presented and widely published some pretty astonishing remarks by the 1980’s.

    Fact.

    On world of life side, the early 1980’s are the key locus, including the choice of term, especially in the work of Thaxton et al. So, the significant work and analysis of Behe, Dembski et al and others to today, mark a second and onward generations of work.

    Meanwhile, we cannot but observe the well known nefarious, explicitly luciferian Alinsky tactic, personalise and polarise. In answer, the design inference stands on the merits of fact and logic. From the 1970’s Orgel and Wicken understood that functionally specific, complex organisation and/or information [FSCO/I, I abbreviate] is readily observable, distinct and seriously challenging to account for on blind chance and/or mechanical necessity on the gamut of the observable cosmos. Indeed, on trillions of observed cases it uniformly comes from intelligently directed configuration.

    On analysing search challenge for blind forces, it is utterly implausible to get to 500 – 1,000+ bits of FSCO/I on the gamut of the sol system or observable cosmos. Thus, an inference per reliable sign to the only known and plausible cause is well warranted as a matter of scientific inference. So strong is this that apart from imposition of domineering a priori evolutionary materialistic scientism as the ideology of atheism in a lab coat, it would be a no-brainer.

    For me, what settles the matter is the obvious presence of alphanumeric algorithmic code in the core of the living cell used in protein synthesis. Such synthesis further involves the ribosome as a NC transfer machine and tRNA as AA taxicab and position-arm element of the protein chain assembly line. All, in molecular nanotech and part of a von Neumann kinematic self replicating entity. And I forgot: some of the code is overlapping, something I didn’t even pretend to try to do when I had to do machine language programming. God bless the inventors of the old 2114 RAM chip and the 2716 EPROM!

    Any reasonable person should be willing to acknowledge astonishing, virtuoso nanotech engineering when s/he sees it.

    KF

  18. 18
    ET says:

    JVL:

    I guess that depends on when you think ID started.

    History says it started with Plato an Aristotle. Maybe even before that.

    Well, for life anyway, depending on what we can find out about the designer(s): where did they come from? How did they do it? Etc.

    That is irrelevant to what you were responding to. Try again.

    I don’t think that’s true since you cannot subject God to scientific inquiry.

    The Creation is open to scientific inquiry. And THAT is exactly how Newton saw science- as a way to understand God’s Creation.

    Clearly you are not understanding what you are responding to.

  19. 19
    ET says:

    The alleged people who designed and built Stonehenge are not available for scientific inquiry. We only “know” they did it because it exists. Not very scientific, is it?

  20. 20
    JVL says:

    ET: The Creation is open to scientific inquiry. And THAT is exactly how Newton saw science- as a way to understand God’s Creation.

    What’s your creation hypothesis?

    The alleged people who designed and built Stonehenge are not available for scientific inquiry. We only “know” they did it because it exists. Not very scientific, is it?

    We’ve found some of their tools, we know some of what they ate, we’ve seen structures constructed before and afterwards, we have good guesses as to how it was done and the abilities required would have been in their repertoire. We know nothing about God, where he’s from, what his abilities are, what his purposes are, how old he is, nothing. We don’t even know if he exists to be blunt.

  21. 21
    ET says:

    seversky:

    Why are ID proponents so ignorant of their opponents position?

    From your posts it is a given we know more about your position than you do. That goes for most evos. They don’t even know their own position.

    The problem for ID proponents is would that satisfy them?

    Having our opponents pull their heads out of their arses, would be a good start.

    ID is not about God, sev. Clearly you are proud to be willfully ignorant. Good luck with that

  22. 22
    ET says:

    JVL:

    What’s your creation hypothesis?

    That is irrelevant. TRY responding to what you are quoting.

  23. 23
    JVL says:

    ET: That is irrelevant. TRY responding to what you are quoting.

    I did respond to someone else’s comments about ID opponents being ignorant of ID.

    Are you afraid to offer your creation hypothesis?

  24. 24
    ET says:

    I am not a Creationist. I have provided a Design Hypothesis.

  25. 25
    ET says:

    JVL:

    I did respond to someone else’s comments about ID opponents being ignorant of ID.

    The response that demonstrated that you are ignorant of ID? Yup, read it.

  26. 26
    john_a_designer says:

    Some time ago on another thread I argued:

    that to make a logically valid argument you need to begin with premises and propositions that are either (1) self-evidently true, (2) provably true or (3) at least probably true, otherwise your conclusion does not follow. (That’s deductive logic 101.) Unfortunately, TRUTH is not served to us on a silver platter so we seldom have the advantage of beginning with #1 or #2. Of course, the problem with #3 is: do arguments based on probabilities ever give us certainty? The answer is no. Nevertheless, that is what we are left with– there is no such thing, in most cases, with absolute proof or certainty. However, that doesn’t justify that one can throw up one’s hands and say “Since, I believe in X therefore X is true” or “I don’t believe in Y therefore Y is not true.” Fideism and nihilism are really just two sides of the same coin. Arguments need to be about the Truth not about beliefs. The pursuit of truth requires both intellectual and ethical honesty and some degree of humility. But how can one have either intellectual or ethical honesty if one doesn’t believe in truth to begin with?

    On the other hand, deductive arguments work very well in mathematics. For example, starting with just a few self-evident definitions and postulates Euclidean geometry we are able to prove (as were the ancient Greeks) that that there are– indeed, there only can be– five regular polyhedral or Platonic solids in three dimensional space.

    Descartes no doubt was attracted to the power of that kind of logic when he tried to use cogito ergo sum as an ontological and epistemic presupposition for his philosophy. However, we don’t find the same logically conclusive stepping stones in metaphysics that we do in the axioms and postulates of mathematics. I don’t think any metaphysical system can really avoid that.

    However, no where did I suggest that using deductive and inductive logic (as well as abductive logic) are useless in determining whether or a philosophical belief is true or false. Quite to the contrary logic is the only tool really all we really have in such discussions.

    What is totally useless, on the other hand, are ungrounded personal beliefs and opinions. Doubling down on the same ungrounded personal beliefs and opinions is not advancing an argument, rather it’s being argumentative. That’s all we are getting from some of our interlocutors.

  27. 27
    kairosfocus says:

    JAD, a good point, though plausibilities are probably — !!! — more apt. That brings in the issue of being persuaded and believing, thus of faith points setting out framewotks of first plausibles that then feed into personal and social plausibility structures. Where reliability is key and where the form of induction (modern sense) is inference to best current explanation, per relevant referents. In all of this, there is a tendency for ideology and office or community politics to drive the business as usual consensus, which then gradually becomes a voyage of folly led by mutineers looting the stores and marginalising sound navigators. Echoes of Plato’s Ship of State and so the fall of Athens, and Ac 27 are NOT coincidental. KF

  28. 28
    kairosfocus says:

    JVL, you need to respond to issues pointed out in 17 above. KF

  29. 29
    JVL says:

    Kairosfocus: you need to respond to issues pointed out in 17 above.

    I offered an opinion, several people disagreed with me. So?

  30. 30
    kairosfocus says:

    JVL, you are accountable before certain facts of the history of ideas. Further unresponsiveness to such warrants us in drawing some fairly serious conclusions. KF

  31. 31
    JVL says:

    Kairosfocus: you are accountable before certain facts of the history of ideas. Further unresponsiveness to such warrants us in drawing some fairly serious conclusions

    This is what I actually said:

    As a major, popular trend I think it [intelligent design] really got going in the 90s with publications by Drs Behe and Dempski.

    It’s clearly an opinion, it clearly says “got going”; not started or began. I never heard of Intelligent Design as any kind of organised trend until the late 90s or early 2000s.

    If I’m wrong, I’m wrong. Plenty of other commenters on this site say stuff that is factually wrong or clearly just an opinion (some of them quite rude, some of them quite inflammatory) and you hardly ever even call them on it. Why are you picking on me?

  32. 32
    kairosfocus says:

    JVL, opinions are not free from accountability to facts. Especially, highly material, foundational facts. Facts, that utterly contradict the creationism in a cheap tuxedo narrative that has been used to lock down serious discussion on merits and as a basis for motive-mongering slander and outright bigotry down to bullyboy tactics including online and on the ground stalking. KF

  33. 33

    The modern ID movement began in 1985 with Michael Denton’s “Evolution: A Theory in Crisis,” but it really gains traction in the 1990s with such notable publications as “Darwin on Trial” (Phillip Johnson, 1991), “Darwin’s Black Box” (Michael Behe, 1996), and “The Design Inference” (William Dembski, 1998). ID has only grown stronger and more popular since then.

  34. 34
    JVL says:

    Kairosfocus: Facts, that utterly contradict the creationism in a cheap tuxedo narrative that has been used to lock down serious discussion on merits and as a basis for motive-mongering slander and outright bigotry down to bullyboy tactics including online and on the ground stalking.

    None of which I did or implied in my comment.

  35. 35
    kairosfocus says:

    JVL, just for a note from AmHD: >>[phrasal verb] get going To make a beginning; get started. >> KF

    PS: Context is highly material here. And by the early 80’s Hoyle and others were on the move. Thaxton et al were 1984 in print, doubtless years in development. By 1973, Orgel was antecedent for World of life, in print. Denton was 1985. Wallace, cofounder of evolution was a design theorist from about 1870. This is the true beginning of the modern movement. Historically, Plato is plausible as academic root, c. 2360 ya, in The Laws Bk X, which is a cosmological inference.

  36. 36
    john_a_designer says:

    Some years ago, on another website, I had this exchange with an interlocutor who responded to a question in an OP which dealt with the subject of same sex marriage.

    “Here’s an answer to your question,” he wrote…

    There is nothing “essentially true” about marriage. Marriage is what we agree it is (or what most of us agree it is.)

    There is no “essential truth” about anything.

    I replied:

    It is self-refuting to say there is ”no ‘essential truth’ about anything.” Didn’t you notice that you’re making an essential [indeed universal] truth claim about truth. Furthermore it takes the legs out from under every argument you have been making. Why should I even consider an argument that’s not true?

    This is why I have given up trying to argue with moral subjectivists. They don’t understand the irrationality of their argument. Logic 101 says you can’t prove anything deductively unless you begin with a factually true or self-evidently true premise. Again, the premise there is “no ‘essential truth’ about anything,” is self-refuting, which is basically the argument the subjectivist is making. All the subjectivist has then are “moral” opinions he believes are true for him. However, no-one else is obligated to accept his or her moral opinions. The subjectivist is then left with a “morality” that has no moral obligation. What value is such a moral system? The answer is obvious: zero value.

    Speaking in a broader metaphysical context: basing ones world view on ungrounded personal opinions or beliefs is just as fallacious and self-refuting. Doubling down on such opinions and beliefs is not making and argument it’s just being argumentative which proves nothing. However, it can be annoying or disruptive.

  37. 37
    JVL says:

    Kairosfocus: just for a note from AmHD: >>[phrasal verb] get going To make a beginning; get started.

    That makes no sense whatsoever.

    Context is highly material here. And by the early 80’s Hoyle and others were on the move. Thaxton et al were 1984 in print, doubtless years in development. By 1973, Orgel was antecedent for World of life, in print. Denton was 1985. Wallace, cofounder of evolution was a design theorist from about 1870. This is the true beginning of the modern movement. Historically, Plato is plausible as academic root, c. 2360 ya, in The Laws Bk X, which is a cosmological inference.

    That’s all fine but I was talking about my experience and my perception. That’s it. Why are you beating this dead horse? Why are you picking on me when lots of other commenters have made lots of other fallacious statements?

  38. 38
    JVL says:

    John_a_designer: This is why I have given up trying to argue with moral subjectivists. They don’t understand the irrationality of their argument. Logic 101 says you can’t prove anything deductively unless you begin with a factually true or self-evidently true premise. Again, the premise there is “no ‘essential truth’ about anything,” is self-refuting, which is basically the argument the subjectivist is making. All the subjectivist has then are “moral” opinions he believes are true for him. However, no-one else is obligated to accept his or her moral opinions. The subjectivist is then left with a “morality” that has no moral obligation. What value is such a moral system? The answer is obvious: zero value.

    What factually true or self-evidently true premise do you start with?

    Again, the premise there is “no ‘essential truth’ about anything,” is self-refuting, which is basically the argument the subjectivist is making.

    That depends on your axioms surely.

    All the subjectivist has then are “moral” opinions he believes are true for him. However, no-one else is obligated to accept his or her moral opinions.

    So . . why should we accept your opinions? I want to see this argument laid out.

    Speaking in a broader metaphysical context: basing ones world view on ungrounded personal opinions or beliefs is just as fallacious and self-refuting. Doubling down on such opinions and beliefs is not making and argument it’s just being argumentative which proves nothing. However, it can be annoying or disruptive.

    Some would say the same about your opinions. Which is why I’d like to see your premises.

  39. 39
    john_a_designer says:

    JVL,

    Why should I engage with someone who no moral or ethical obligation to be honest? Why would I or anyone else even trust such a person?

    Once again we see same obfuscation and obstruction games being played.

    What’s the point of getting involved in discussions or debates with interlocutors who defend moral subjectivism when we have no reason for believing they are being intellectually or ethically honest? The logic here is really very basic and straightforward: If there are no true interpersonal moral standards or obligations how can we trust anything anyone says or asserts? I don’t think that we can. To have an honest discussion or debate you need some kind of interpersonal, or “transcendent,” standard of truth and honesty– even if it’s a traditional or some kind of “conventional” standard. Why would I trust somebody else’s subjective standard for honesty and truth when he is in fact arguing there is no standard of truth or honesty? It would be rather foolish to get involved in that kind of dialogue.

  40. 40
    kairosfocus says:

    JVL, first the phrasal verb, get going has a stated meaning as given; it does not fit with your attempted suggestion. Next, in contexts where it makes a difference, we don’t have a freedom to assume or assert what we please, on the same grounds that tort establishes for defamation: your right to wag your tongue ends where my innocent reputation begins. Readily checked facts have been given, many of which are noted in the UD Weak Argument Correctives. Asserting opinions that enable slander in the teeth of readily accessible corrective information is no light matter. KF

  41. 41
    JVL says:

    John_a_designer: Why should I engage with someone who no moral or ethical obligation to be honest? Why would I or anyone else even trust such a person?

    What moral or ethical obligation do you have to be honest?

    What’s the point of getting involved in discussions or debates with interlocutors who defend moral subjectivism when we have no reason for believing they are being intellectually or ethically honest?

    How do you know what my moral or ethical stance is?

    The logic here is really very basic and straightforward: If there are no true interpersonal moral standards or obligations how can we trust anything anyone says or asserts?

    Again, how do you know what my stance is? And how do I know you’re not just making yours up?

    To have an honest discussion or debate you need some kind of interpersonal, or “transcendent,” standard of truth and honesty– even if it’s a traditional or some kind of “conventional” standard.

    So, what is your standard then?

    Why would I trust somebody else’s subjective standard for honesty and truth when he is in fact arguing there is no standard of truth or honesty? It would be rather foolish to get involved in that kind of dialogue.

    How do you know what my argument or stance is going to be?

  42. 42
    JVL says:

    Kairosfocus: first the phrasal verb, get going has a stated meaning as given; it does not fit with your attempted suggestion

    I still have no idea what you’re talking about. Why not speak in plain English?

    Next, in contexts where it makes a difference, we don’t have a freedom to assume or assert what we please, on the same grounds that tort establishes for defamation: your right to wag your tongue ends where my innocent reputation begins.

    Does that mean I am not allowed to offer my opinion even if it is wrong? Specifically about ID?

    Readily checked facts have been given, many of which are noted in the UD Weak Argument Correctives.

    So, we’re not allowed to disagree with those either?

    Asserting opinions that enable slander in the teeth of readily accessible corrective information is no light matter

    I uttered no slander. I am not responsible for others’ expression or views.

  43. 43
    kairosfocus says:

    JVL,

    you are being evasive. Above you presented a narrative of the roots of modern Intelligent Design theory. You used the phrase “got going.” WRT the work of Behe and Dembski, I objected, you suggested a meaning different from the normal meaning of the phrasal verb as multiple dictionaries attest.

    I have pointed out the real history, and I point out that Thaxton et al constituted a research group, showing a programme already in action in the early 1980’s. Behe, Dembski et al acceded to that programme, building and extending its scope even as others continue to do.

    Decades before, on the cosmological side, a distinct but related programme began to emerge.

    All of these have deep antecedents.

    I continue to point out these facts as the narrative you put forward functions as an enabling component for a slander used by evolutionary materialistic scientism ideologues to smear the design inference by mischaracterising it as a religious enterprise that is a part of an imagined grand theocratic campaign to reduce our civilisation under despotism. Where, such a projection tells us a lot more than is intended, on the mirror principle that our projections often reflect our inner selves. Likewise, what enables is not directly a part of an agenda but lends it support. This is why I insist on the correction.

    One’s right to wag one’s tongue or press keys on one’s keyboard ends where another’s innocent reputation begins.

    The reality is, there is good reason for leading thinkers from Plato onwards and down to today to look at the world of life and the cosmos, and to note signs of design then infer design as credible cause. That is why design thought cannot be eliminated.

    As regards the cosmos, the evidence of fine tuning towards a world with C-Chem, aqueous medium cell based life is strong.

    On the world of life, the central role of alphanumeric algorithmic — so, linguistic and goal-directed — code in the cell, with C-chem molecular nanotech execution machinery including transcription, proof reading, editing and splicing, interwoven codes, NC-controlled transfer machines [Ribosomes with the 3 successive sites] and position-arm devices with universal CCA joint tool-tips etc, is simply decisive.

    Such can be evaded, obfuscated or suppressed, it cannot so easily be overturned on the merits.

    And such a conclusion does not depend on the vicissitudes of an underfunded, controversial, marginalised programme. The relevant facts of both cosmology and the molecular biology of the cell are overwhelmingly documented.

    These conclusions are resisted, not because they lack warrant, but because they challenge core assumptions of a dominant and too often domineering paradigm. Namely, a priori evolutionary materialistic scientism descriptively, Naturalism by preferred name.

    That dominant paradigm has a fatally cracked foundation and is doomed to collapse. Even if that has to proceed one funeral at a time.

    KF

  44. 44
    kairosfocus says:

    PS: If your views and arguments over easily confirmed matters of history fly so hard in the face of facts [which is what the UD WAC’s summarise] then that tells us sadly revealing worlds about unresponsiveness to first duties of reason. The book, TMLO is available online, with Thaxton et al listed as Authors. Likewise, here is Sir Fred Hoyle:

    >>[Sir Fred Hoyle, In a talk at Caltech c 1981 (nb. this longstanding UD post):] From 1953 onward, Willy Fowler and I have always been intrigued by the remarkable relation of the 7.65 MeV energy level in the nucleus of 12 C to the 7.12 MeV level in 16 O. If you wanted to produce carbon and oxygen in roughly equal quantities by stellar nucleosynthesis, these are the two levels you would have to fix, and your fixing would have to be just where these levels are actually found to be. Another put-up job? . . . I am inclined to think so. A common sense interpretation of the facts suggests that a super intellect has “monkeyed” with the physics as well as the chemistry and biology, and there are no blind forces worth speaking about in nature. [F. Hoyle, Annual Review of Astronomy and Astrophysics, 20 (1982): 16.]>>

    . . . also, in the same talk at Caltech:

    >>The big problem in biology, as I see it, is to understand the origin of the information carried by the explicit structures of biomolecules. The issue isn’t so much the rather crude fact that a protein consists of a chain of amino acids linked together in a certain way, but that the explicit ordering of the amino acids endows the chain with remarkable properties, which other orderings wouldn’t give. The case of the enzymes is well known . . . If amino acids were linked at random, there would be a vast number of arrange-ments that would be useless in serving the pur-poses of a living cell. When you consider that a typical enzyme has a chain of perhaps 200 links and that there are 20 possibilities for each link,it’s easy to see that the number of useless arrangements is enormous, more than the number of atoms in all the galaxies visible in the largest telescopes. [ –> 20^200 = 1.6 * 10^260] This is for one enzyme, and there are upwards of 2000 of them, mainly serving very different purposes. So how did the situation get to where we find it to be? This is, as I see it, the biological problem – the information problem . . . .

    I was constantly plagued by the thought that the number of ways in which even a single enzyme could be wrongly constructed was greater than the number of all the atoms in the universe. So try as I would, I couldn’t convince myself that even the whole universe would be sufficient to find life by random processes – by what are called the blind forces of nature . . . . By far the simplest way to arrive at the correct sequences of amino acids in the enzymes would be by thought, not by random processes . . . .

    Now imagine yourself as a superintellect working through possibilities in polymer chemistry. Would you not be astonished that polymers based on the carbon atom turned out in your calculations to have the remarkable properties of the enzymes and other biomolecules? Would you not be bowled over in surprise to find that a living cell was a feasible construct? Would you not say to yourself, in whatever language supercalculating intellects use: Some supercalculating intellect must have designed the properties of the carbon atom, otherwise the chance of my finding such an atom through the blind forces of nature would be utterly minuscule. Of course you would, and if you were a sensible superintellect you would conclude that the carbon atom is a fix. >>

    . . . and again:

    >> I do not believe that any physicist who examined the evidence could fail to draw the inference that the laws of nuclear physics have been deliberately designed with regard to the [–> nuclear synthesis] consequences they produce within stars. [“The Universe: Past and Present Reflections.” Engineering and Science, November, 1981. pp. 8–12]>>

    Orgel:

    living organisms are distinguished by their specified complexity. Crystals are usually taken as the prototypes of simple well-specified structures, because they consist of a very large number of identical molecules packed together in a uniform way. Lumps of granite or random mixtures of polymers are examples of structures that are complex but not specified. The crystals fail to qualify as living because they lack complexity; the mixtures of polymers fail to qualify because they lack specificity . . . .

    [HT, Mung, fr. p. 190 & 196:]

    These vague idea can be made more precise by introducing the idea of information. Roughly speaking, the information content of a structure is the minimum number of instructions needed to specify the structure.

    [–> this is of course equivalent to the string of yes/no questions required to specify the relevant J S Wicken “wiring diagram” for the set of functional states, T, in the much larger space of possible clumped or scattered configurations, W, as Dembski would go on to define in NFL in 2002, also cf here,

    here and

    here

    — (with here on self-moved agents as designing causes).]

    One can see intuitively that many instructions are needed to specify a complex structure. [–> so if the q’s to be answered are Y/N, the chain length is an information measure that indicates complexity in bits . . . ] On the other hand a simple repeating structure can be specified in rather few instructions.  [–> do once and repeat over and over in a loop . . . ] Complex but random structures, by definition, need hardly be specified at all . . . . Paley was right to emphasize the need for special explanations of the existence of objects with high information content, for they cannot be formed in nonevolutionary, inorganic processes [–> Orgel had high hopes for what Chem evo and body-plan evo could do by way of info generation beyond the FSCO/I threshold, 500 – 1,000 bits.] [The Origins of Life (John Wiley, 1973), p. 189, p. 190, p. 196.]

  45. 45
    john_a_designer says:

    One of the ironies of modern atheistic naturalism, whose proponents often posture as self-appointed defenders of science is that naturalism or its insane twin materialism cannot provide an adequate basis for science. For example, the fact is we cannot even begin to do science unless we make some metaphysical assumptions about science. Ironically, at least according to physicist and theologian Ian Barbour, the assumptions that a scientist must make to do science are basically Biblical assumptions.

    “A good case can be made,” Barbour writes, “that the doctrine of creation helped set the stage for scientific activity.”

    Christian philosopher Peter S. Williams, who provides the above quote from Barbour in his on-line article, “Does Science Disprove God?” lists several presuppositions of science that he argues “derive warrant from the theistic doctrine of creation:

    • That the natural world is real (not an illusion) and basically good (and hence worth studying)

    • That the natural world isn’t divine (i.e. pantheism is false) and so it isn’t impious to experiment upon it

    • That the natural world isn’t governed by multiple competing and/or capricious forces (i.e. polytheism is false)

    • That the natural world is governed by a rational order

    • That the human mind is, to some degree, able to understand the rational order displayed by the natural world

    • That human cognitive and sensory faculties are generally reliable

    • That the rational order displayed by the natural world cannot be deduced from first principles, thus observation and experiment are required”

    Again, notice that these presuppositions themselves cannot be proven by empirical science. Therefore, a science based epistemology, i.e. “scientism,” of any kind cannot be true.

    Williams observes that, “There is thus a wide-ranging consonance between Christianity and the presuppositions of science.” He then goes on to quote Barbour again.

    “Both Greek and biblical thought asserted that the world is orderly and intelligible. But the Greeks held that this order is necessary and that one can therefore deduce its structure from first principles. Only biblical thought held that God created both form and matter, meaning that the world did not have to be as it is and that the details of its order can be discovered only by observation. Moreover, while nature is real and good in the biblical view, it is not itself divine, as many ancient cultures held, and it is therefore permissible to experiment on it… it does appear that the idea of creation gave a religious legitimacy to scientific inquiry.”

    http://www.bethinking.org/does.....scientific

    Barbour is not alone here. Both Alfred North Whitehead and American physicist Robert Oppenheimer understood that historically a Christian milieu was in fact necessary for the development of science. The famous Christian writer and University of Cambridge professor C.S. Lewis summarized the position this way: “Men became scientific because they expected Law in Nature, and they expected Law in Nature because they believed in a [Lawgiver.]”

    Indeed, all the early scientist who were part of the so-called scientific revolution: Galileo, Kepler, Newton were Christian theists.

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